WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today introduced the Thurgood Marshall’s Elementary School Study Act (S. 610) to honor the legacy of civil rights champion, Supreme Court Justice and Baltimorean Thurgood Marshall. The legislation would recognize his alma matter, Public School 103 in West Baltimore, as a National Historic Site.
“Thurgood Marshall was not always known as a civil rights champion and gifted legal mind, he was once a student living and learning in West Baltimore,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The stories, though they may be apocryphal, of Marshall reading the Constitution in the basement of P.S. 103 during detention typify the American Dream. Preserving P.S. 103 would be not only a fitting tribute to a great Marylander, but also an enduring symbol of the importance of education in shaping great Americans.”
“Thurgood Marshall was a tireless fighter for equality,” Senator Mikulski said. “From his days as a young lawyer to serving as Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall was a courageous fighter and tireless in his commitment to right injustices and fighting racial discrimination. I am proud to introduce this legislation that will make P.S.103 in Baltimore a National Historic Site, and serve as an inspiration to generations of young Baltimore students to come.”
The bill would instruct the Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of including P.S. 103 as a unit of the National Park System. The bill would also call on the Secretary of the Interior to study means by which public and private groups could contribute to the preservation of the historically significant site.
Baltimore currently has two historical sites managed by the National Park Service: Fort McHenry and the Hampton Mansion. Adding P.S. 103 is an opportunity for the National Park Service to reach out and engage people about African-American history.
P.S. 103 is located at 1315 Division Street in the Upton Neighborhood of Old West Baltimore. The building is part of the Old West Baltimore National Register Historic District, and is listed as a contributing historic resource for the neighborhood. The Old West Baltimore historic district is one of the largest predominately African-American historic districts in the country.